Since most meetings and conferences have been cancelled due to the current pandemia, conference calls and webinars are a perfect opportunity to discuss crucial issues of the industry. The third webinar of the RoamsysNext Connectivity Innovation Forum (CIF) focussed on one of these topics: IPX Security is one of the major challenges that needs to be addressed by a global strategy.
All operators and their customers are facing threats and security incidents on a regular basis and the number of attacks is growing. New technologies like 5G and IoT need to be protected by joint forces as three industry experts stated in their presentations during the forum. Florin Neamtu (iBASIS), Alexandre De Oliveira (Post Luxembourg) and Guillaume Lavernhe (BICS) presented their own solutions focussing more on general threat and fraud scenarios and how to combat them globally.
Threats are real
Florin Neamtu, Senior Product Manager at iBASIS and responsible for cyber security, painted a quite dark picture of the current situation. On a daily basis operators face thousands of attacks with serious vulnerabilities especially for LTE networks and SMS traffic. For a long time now the situation for hackers and fraudsters has been convenient with cheap access to hardware and careless operators. But times are changing, operators and vendors are now well aware of the risks, using 24/7 monitoring software and powerful firewalls. The coexistence of multiple standards (2/3/4/5 G networks) and the opening towards the internet with 5G and IoT creates new challenges single MNOs cannot handle anymore all by themselves. The help of other parties offering security solutions is needed in most cases. In an ideal world, combined efforts throughout the industry would be the most effective way combating misuse and fraud.
POST Luxembourg, the grand-duchy’s national operator, developed their own multi-level security solution. By now, it is also offered to be used by other MNO’s worldwide. It includes a combined attack and defence strategy with IPX providers as important partners to ensure real security. Competences in this delicate area need to be further developed and maintained, globally and across technologies, as Alexandre De Oliveira, responsible for telecom security at POST, pointed out. In order to protect the industry from growing threats, it will become essential to share information between operators, IPX providers and vendors, e.g. in the GSMA MISP.
Guillaume Lavernhe, product manager for fraud management and security solutions at BICS, featured various solutions to enhance mobile operator network security on multiple levels. A first wave of attacks can be blocked even before MNO networks are affected. Afterwards advanced screening technologies monitor all systems on a 24/7 basis with sophisticated threat intelligence and detection. He pointed out that beside all AI and machine learning capabilities, immediate response against critical events must be given by fully fitted security and fraud experts. Knowledge-sharing, multi-operator experience and crowd-sourced intelligence is important to raise efficiency. The goal is to become even more pro-active to aggregate known threats and hacker signatures.
After the presentations Shamit Bhat and Kathleen Leach took the opportunity to share the results of the latest GSMA group activities. Since group meetings are everywhere turning into “remote mode”, the Connectivity Innovation Forum is a perfect place to get insights without needing to travel.
A date for the next gathering planned for mid-April as well as the agenda is currently up for discussion and will be announced, soon.